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The rate of people completing higher education degrees has been increasing and is projected to continue increasing in all eight countries in which the AquaFish Innovation Lab is currently working (see below). The AquaFish Innovation Lab contributes to this trend through its support for students, universities, and government research facilities.
The AquaFish Innovation Lab is transforming the way students in Africa and Asia are learning by establishing research infrastructure, turning universities into leaders in sustainable aquaculture science. The AquaFish Innovation Lab support for students, more than 400 to date, reaches beyond academia, allowing students to gain real world experience, ultimately leading to meaningful employment with nonprofits, universities, private industry, and more.
Increasing capacity at the AquaFish Innovation Lab’s partner universities makes them more competitive for funding and attracting students, leading to a pipeline of individuals well equipped to address community needs. The AquaFish Innovation Lab worked with faculty at Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to establish new curricula and infrastructure, such as labs and ponds, enabling students to gain practical skills in fish farming. The increased capacity led to the creation of two new Master’s and PhD degree programs in Aquaculture and Water Resources Management that help address food security challenges, particularly the deficiency of animal protein consumption in Ghana.
In Nepal, the AquaFish Innovation Lab established the country’s first Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries at Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU). The program, now in its third year, received 500 applications for 16 available seats in 2016. Program development at AFU is helping to generate knowledge and technologies that can help address food security and nutrition in rural communities throughout the country. The AquaFish Innovation Lab support has led to several faculty, government researchers, and students working on projects that produce innovative technologies, including sahar breeding techniques, polyculture strategies, and the incorporation of small indigenous fish species into ponds.
The curricula established through program development at KNUST and AFU illustrate the AquaFish Innovation Lab’s commitment to building aquaculture educational capacity worldwide. The AquaFish Innovation Lab's achievements help build and strengthen local research capacity in partnering countries, creating and nurturing healthy communities and economies throughout the world.